Chloe C. is a shining star
Chloe, who was born with skeletal dysplasias (dwarfism), is able to overcome her obstacles and excel in her abilities at STAR 3 Keystone SMILES Learning Center in Clarion County.
Chloe C. was enrolled in our Pre-K program on August 28th, 2011. Chloe was born with skeletal dysplasias (dwarfism) which in turn causes restrictive lung disease and cervical instability. She is 4 years old, weighs 21 pounds and is 30 inches tall. Chloe has spent a lot of time in the hospital and lived on a feeding tube for quite some time.
Before Chloe began our Pre-k program, her mom came to the center with Chloe to meet with me and discuss Chloe's needs. Chloe was currently attending an IU program within our local school district. Many of the children in Chloe's classroom had disabilities as well and the class size was very small. Chloe was doing extremely well in the class, however mom wanted more. Mom stressed how she wanted Chloe to have the opportunity to be in a regular preschool setting and have her feel like she is just as normal as the rest of the children her age. Mom stressed that other than her size, Chloe is very capable of fitting in. She is very smart, does not need a feeding tube anymore and is eager to learn. She wanted Chloe to have the exposure of a regular preschool classroom before she started kindergarten in the fall of 2012.
Throughout the meeting I had with Chloe's mom, I will say that I was nervous. The staff, as well as myself, had never dealt with a child with dwarfism. I had many concerns along with mom. My biggest concern was that I didn't want Chloe getting knocked down by the other children in the classroom. Our classroom size has about 18 children at one time. Mom kept reassuring me that she trusted us and knew that she would be in good hands. The biggest concern that mom had was that Chloe would need to eat little bits at one time, step stools may need to be throughout the classroom, refrain from tumbling in our gross motor classroom and refrain from running outside due to neck and head injury.
Chloe seemed very excited but a little nervous around the other children. She did take very well to the classroom teacher, Miss Judy. Following the meeting with mom, I met with Miss Judy to discuss the changes we would have to make to the classroom to be sure we were meeting Chloe's needs. Miss Judy was very receptive of Chloe and her family and made wonderful adaptations throughout the room. She had 2 stepstools made so that Chloe could reach the sink, sand/water table and art easel. A paint smock was made so that it fit her at the easel and for painting activities. Cubby hooks were lowered so that Chloe could reach to hang up her coat and backpack.
Currently, Chloe has been doing wonderful in our program. She has adjusted very well. The other children in her class are very respectful of Chloe and very cautious around her. Chloe seems to really enjoy coming to preschool. She has made significant progress since the beginning of the school year socially, emotionally and physically with her fine motor skills. The family seems very pleased with the services we have offered Chloe. She is a joy to have in our program!
Monica Weeter, Pre-K Director, Keystone SMILES Learning Center